Preserving a Dysfunctional World

Streaming for free through next Monday is the new documentary about the cancer research of Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski, a medical doctor and Ph.D. in biochemistry. This face-paced documentary (a little less than two hours long) is much bigger than the story of one man. It is a story of how entrenched interests are partnering with government to preserve their market position and to impede progress.  In the process, billions of tax dollars are wasted and real harm comes to us all. In short:

  1. No, Dr. Burzynski has not discovered a one size fits all cancer treatment (I don’t believe there is one), but he has successfully treated numerous documented medically incurable cancer cases with his non-toxic treatment.
  2. For many years the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the State of Texas have prosecuted and persecuted this medical pioneer despite admitting that his treatment works.
  3. Government, captured by big pharmaceutical interests, has cruelly prevented freedom of choice even in terminal cases.
  4. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) deliberately altered the Burzynski treatment protocols in order to discredit his theories. A former NCI scientist, Dr. Li-Chuan Chen, bravely explains how the NCI works.
  5. Most shockingly of all, the government filed copycat patents on Burzynski’s antineoplastons compounds and then tried to throw Burzynski in jail so he couldn’t contest the patents. Why? If “antineoplastons are approved, it will mark the first time in history a single scientist, not a pharmaceutical company, will hold the exclusive patent and distribution rights on a paradigm-shifting medical breakthrough.”
  6. Courageous men and women, including judges and doctors, have stood up against this government/pharmaceutical tyranny and have helped Dr. Burzynski.
  7. You can help today by watching the documentary and, if you are moved, spreading the word about this brave man’s work.

Monopolies produce bad science. The government and pharmaceutical companies fund almost all cancer research. Radiation and chemotherapy are virtually the only type of research funded. The government acts to maintain a trillion dollar cancer industry built on dysfunctional beliefs. In their distorted world, the way things are is the way things should always be. Their dysfunctional world is to be preserved at all costs.

In my book The Inner-Work of Leadership I tell the story of a 19thCentury medical heretic; a pioneer in demonstrating the importance of hygiene in hospitals. There was no FDA back then, but Dr. Ignaz Semmelweiss did not find a welcoming committee for his heretical ideas.

Dr. Ignaz Semmelweiss (1818-1865) had essentially eradicated puerperal (child bed) fever during childbirth by advocating and demonstrating the efficacy of hygiene in the delivery room. Since doctors delivering babies often came straight from the autopsy room without washing their hands, and since mortality rates were much lower in maternity wards attended by midwives, Semmelweiss reasoned that dirty hands were the cause of puerperal fever. Semmelweiss saw that he was part of the problem and a simple solution was at hand. In his ward, he required the washing of hands in soap and water followed by a chlorinated solution. Mortality rates in his obstetrical clinic plummeted from approximately 18% in 1847 to near zero the following year.

Yet, despite both overwhelming theoretical arguments and empirical evidence, Semmelweiss’s ideas were not embraced. Instead, he was treated with scorn and attacked by his fellow physicians. The very idea that a gentleman could cause illness because he was unclean was offensive. According to an account by Jeanne Achterberg, in her book Woman As Healer, colleagues of Semmelweiss “simply refused to believe that their own hands were the vehicle for disease.” Instead, Achterberg writes, “they attributed it to a spontaneous phenomenon arising from the ‘combustible’ nature of the parturient woman.” Semmelweiss was treated as a heretic. Achterberg continues, “Semmelweiss’s academic rank was lowered, his hospital privileges restricted. Despondent, he was committed to an insane asylum, where he died of blood poisoning, a disease not unlike the puerperal fever he had almost conquered.”

As this example demonstrates, our paradigms are internally consistent. An infection was considered a normal phenomenon, explained away by complicated theories of bodily imbalances. Evidence that might cause us to question our beliefs is used to reinforce our beliefs. If long held beliefs are challenged, we feel a need to defend them. And as long as we are defensive, our vision will be cloudy at best. To remain blind to our beliefs and paradigms, to refuse to question them, cuts off any real possibility of change.

Before too long, but too late for him, Semmelweiss’s ideas were embraced. The evidence was too overwhelming—and there was no FDA or NCI to maintain entrenched interests.


4 Responses to Preserving a Dysfunctional World

  1. Dan Robinson says:

    This was an enlightening and disturbing film. Dr. Burzynski is a Hero. What he has had to put up with from the Texas Medical Board, the FDA and National Cancer Institute is a travesty. What was also striking was the overall tone at the congressional hearings, that even with 5 or more indictments and no adverse findings the FDA was not centured or even strongly rebuked in it’s flawed and failed attempt to criminalize a doctor who’s saving lives. Burzynski has been wrongly persecuted since what the 1980’s? What’s really sinister is the willingness of Goverment agencys to not allow U.S. citizens with very serious cancers treatment when effective safe and in Burzynski’s case patentable treatments are available. Sadly a classic case of follow the money. Thanks for bring this to light Barry.

    • Thanks, Dan. Speaking of the Congressional hearings, I was struck by the arrogance of former FDA Commissioner David Kessler. Years of wielding unbridled power clearly had an influence.

      • Dan Robinson says:

        Yes Kessler did come off as arrogant, his sophistratic deflection of the core question on a legal technicality nicely demonstrated his intellectual complicity in the flawed prosecution of Dr. Burnzyski. My only exposure to Kessler previously had been the mainstream press- mostly his face, and few facts in the Big tobacco settlement.

  2. […] Preserving a Dysfunctional World « Giving Up ControlJun 12, 2011 … A former NCI scientist, Dr. Li-Chuan Chen, bravely explains how the NCI works. Most shockingly of all, the government filed copycat patents on … […]

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